Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Riding with the team

Last Saturday, I finally was able to join my Team in Training buddies on a training ride. What a great workout - and simply awesome riding friends.

The crew consisted of Coach Ed (not Maramarc Ed - a different badass cyclist named Ed), Ryan, Allen, Paul, Sarah (another surgery victim), a friend of Sarah's and me. Our plan was to start at Laurel Park with the RABA ABC ride. I have mainly ridden in Goochland, so this was fairly new territory for me.

We started out at a very relaxed pace, which made me (incorrectly) think I'd need to fit in a swim later to get my heart really pumping.

Foolish, foolish me...

We didn't do the traditional 20 mile ABC ride. Instead, we followed a slightly different loop that added 10 miles to the front of the ride. The different loop had some nice rollers on it that woke my legs up.

Early into the ride, the other two ladies turned around as one of them wasn't feeling well.

That left just me and the boys on the ride. All four of my riding partners either are regular riders (Ed rides for Team Nature's Path) and/or just completed a century ride (Fletcher Flyer or Lake Tahoe) in the past month.

I'm sure for them the pace was a "piece of cake" but for this runner-trying-to-become-a-cyclist, it was a brisk pace - challenging but really fun. They even tried to teach me how to draft. I'm still a little wary of riding so close to someone else's wheel, but I'm willing to give it a try.

I finished the ride completely invigorated - and feeling like my legs & lungs had done some work.

I'm definitely looking forward to riding with these great guys as we all peddle for a cure. One of my buddies - Allen - has a 22-year-old son who is currently in remission from leukemia. We're riding for him - and anyone else affected by cancer.

Did I mention that I love my bike? Yup - I do.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A different ride

Isn't it funny how the simplest decision can sometimes cause the most angst?

For instance, I'm not working next Friday (come on people - it's a holiday weekend) so I figured I'd fit in a longer ride that day (happily leaving the 4th free and clear for relaxation).

The choices included: traveling up to the Blue Ridge Parkway with my Lake Placid friends for a lot of climbing. I certainly had no intention of riding the 100 miles featured on their schedule. Quite simply - not necessary and really not possible at this point. But, I could ride about 40, maybe 50, miles up there. I admit that I do love the BRP - although I'm still not a huge fan of descents.

Despite the difficulty of that ride, there is something very reassuring about riding that route I know well - and hanging with my main riding buddies for the past 3 years.


I could choose an easier ride on the northern neck....with a group I've only ridden with once.

While the route is much kinder and gentler than the BRP, I've never actually ridden it. The ride includes a lunch stop...at a pretty little marina.

And yet - the northern neck choice intimidated me a little more. What if I get dropped? What if I take a wrong turn? What if...what if...what if...whoa...stop.

(Sometimes, I have to stop my meandering mind when it gets all ridiculous - like it was today regarding these rides).

Instead, I asked myself, "What if you meet some more cool people? What if you discover more beautiful places to ride? What if you push yourself out of your comfort zone?"

Hello northern neck....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Helping the cause

As you know, I'm currently training for the Seagull Century in October. It's going to be a very memorable event as it will be my fourth endurance event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My first event was in 2005 - The Mayor's Midnight Sun marathon in Anchorage, Alaska.

It was amazing - as you can imagine. I even enjoyed the last few miles of the marathon, which are typically anything but pleasant.

I am so flattered and excited to report that I have been asked to serve as a mentor for the spring 2010 cycling team. I'll be helping the spring team fund raise and train for their century ride. Hopefully, I'll join them on the ride, too.

I love combining my hobbies (endurance stuff like swimming, cycling and...maybe running) with something that helps others (fundraising for blood cancers).

This has been a happy, happy day.

Monday, June 15, 2009


You know that feeling you have after a long, worthwhile workout? I felt that on Saturday, thanks to the great idea of SanDee J. She and I were talking about going for a little spin on our bikes on Saturday. She suggested we try one of the RABA rides. I thought, "Why not?"

Well...the ride was a little bit longer than anything we've done this spring (she is also a victim of knee surgery - ACL reconstruction in March). Yup - we signed on for a 59-miler. Luckily, the ride was absolutely flat as a pancake and described as "social."

Flat + social + the good people of RABA = awesome Saturday

RABA may be my new favorite athletic group in Richmond. Not only did they all welcome us as if we were long-lost friends, they were just so...laidback. While I know some of their rides are very fast and competitive, this was not so - nor was it advertised as such.

The ride included gorgeous views of the James River from Chippoke State Park - and miles and miles of relaxing rural riding. The man in charge of the ride arranged for the sweetest refueling stop at a tiny church in Surrey County. We had Gatorade, cookies and a personal welcome letter from the church.

On July 3rd, this same group of people is planning a ride from Kilmarnock to Reedville (with a lunch included). I think I know what I'm doing that day...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A little more progress

Last year, for unknown reasons, I loved to do kicking drills in the pool. I don't know why. I also like tequila shots, so you get that I'm not 100% normal.

This year, I have been a non-kicker (knee surgery - as if you didn't know). I think I actually forgot how to pull, rotate AND kick while swimming. I've been pulling and rotating with minimal kicking since January.

Until Karen H (aka ProKaren or Ironwoman Cananda) pointed out that it might be a wise move for me to start kicking again.

I tried it out tentatively. I've had some moments when if I kick too hard, my knees kick me right back. Darn knees.

Last night, I could actually incorporate a little kicking back into my swimming.

But forget about springing off the blocks. No thank you. I will try that out when I am healed enough to run again. (How about that bartering with myself?)

And, most importantly, this morning, my knees weren't uncomfortably tight and stiff from swimming.

The healing continues.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cycling for a Cure - part 2

Last winter, I decided to take on the challenge of competing in another endurance event for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. By finishing the SeaGull Century in October, I will have completed the "triple crown" of fundraising for TNT by finishing a marathon (Mayor's Midnight marathon in Alaska), a triathlon (Dave Scott's Texasman Tri in - where else? - Texas) and at last (fingers crossed) a century ride this fall.

Due to the extreme generosity of my friends and family, I have already raised the minimum funds of $2,500. Close to 80% of the funds go straight to cancer research (the other portion supports our training). But, every dollar that I raise beyond my minimum goes directly to cancer research.

If you know of anyone who is interested, please have them donate to my cause: My Team in Training Website

(Big hugs to two of my favorite people who have been personally affected by blood cancer: Rick and Fave...this one is for your two wonderful dads).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Finding peace

Once upon a time I was heartbroken to have to drop out of Lake Placid.

And then I saw their workout for this weekend...and I was no longer heartbroken.

But seriously, I am in awe of all my many friends who are training for Lake Placid. They have worked so hard, battling injuries, fears, and the crunch of IM training. You all are my heroes.

Meanwhile, I am in a great frame of mind in terms of training and general health. I actually feel sore this week. I haven't felt sore from riding or strength training or swimming in awhile (not including soreness from surgery, of course). I love it.

After consulting with my posse of people-who-know-a-lot-more-than-me-about-cycling, I've decided to : a) update my bike fit and b) transform my bike back into a pure road bike. At least for the next year, my focus is on doing long rides - but not races. I'm really intrigued by the world of century rides (I think). It seems like a great way to stay fit, see the world, collect cool t-shirts - and be able to stay connected with my triathlon friends (I plan to tag along on many of the Ironman Florida training rides as I train for a couple of century rides - most notably the Farm Ride in Massachusetts and Seagull Century on the Eastern shore of Maryland).

So there you go - there is life post-surgery. And it's a good one.